Senior Manager Local Government & Board Director Southern Alpine Resorts
Working in local government might not be one of the first careers you think of, but maybe it’s time to think again. Kerry Wilson wants girls to consider all the amazing opportunities for a rewarding career in local government.
What work do you do?
My job title changes regularly, but I am usually managing a large portfolio and team, leading a project or developing a strategy. Then on the side, I am governing two alpine resorts, developing gender equity resources and helping to empower and inspire women through a rural network called Women in Gippsland.
What do you want girls to know about working in local government?
Girls should definitely consider local government as a possible career path and opportunity. Not many people realise the breadth and depth of local government. There are 150 different services, development and growth opportunities, pathways to higher roles and so on. With the new Gender Equality Act coming into play in Victoria next year, every council will need a plan to create gender-equal environments and opportunities. This is a huge opportunity for the women and girls of the future.
Find out more about it. Find a woman in your local council and catch up with her. Pick her brains about the different and varied roles you can get involved in – the arts, sport and rec, environment, engineering, project management, management, HR, IT…the list is endless.
Local government will continue to have many job opportunities and possibly new roles. I know many people who have started in entry level roles and progressed all the way through to CEO and directors.
Sport and recreation need more women. More women who want to get more people more active more often. Women and girls playing more sport and everyone meeting daily recommended physical activity guidelines, so we all live longer and better.
Helping to build gender equity is thrilling because it provides a real sense of purpose and being part of a movement.
Did you always know what you wanted to do?
No. I felt alone at high school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I still don’t. Everyone else around me seemed to be certain, with a clear career pathway mapped out which they just needed to follow. But I’m living proof it doesn’t matter.
Did you follow a clear pathway in your career?
Not at all. I’m living proof that you don’t need a clear pathway mapped out to have a rewarding career. My journey has been trial and error, but what’s always mattered most was two things – attitude and aptitude. Throughout my career, I’ve pivoted and changed roles, building skills and creating connections that would be crucial to my success going forward. It’s all about building up the layers.
What do you love most about what you do?
I feel like a maestro, a chef or an artist. I often have access to a large amount of information, resources, people, ideas, evidence, needs, wants and constraints. I lay them all out and look at all the ways they can fit together, the patterns that can be created and what emerges from each. It’s a creative pursuit and some interesting initiatives are created.
I like knowing that when you leave a role that there is a legacy and if the team follow the steps great things will happen. Because it takes years for work to achieve great and enduring outcomes.
What are you afraid of and how do you cope with that?
Being the centre of attention – interviews and presentations! However, I’m very confident in my skills, capabilities and achievements so I’m OK with not being strong in this area. I like to focus on my strengths and build teams with complimenting strengths that are ‘in it together.’
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Many things, but one of my faves was when I worked with a young man many years ago to develop cricket that could be played by people with multiple and physical disabilities.
In your wildest dreams, what you would love to do and get paid for it?
Be paid to walk! I was recently training for an 800km walk which has been cancelled. Walking is such a gift. If someone paid me to wander (on foot) around this glorious globe, exploring everything on offer, I would be ridiculously thrilled.